Zaha Hadid will be the first woman in her own right to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal. The medal, which is awarded in honor of a lifetime of work and is approved by the Queen herself, has been granted since 1848 to such luminaries as Norman Foster, Frank Lloyd Wright and Sir George Gilbert Scott.
Jane Duncan, RIBA president and chair of the selection committee, said: “Zaha Hadid is a formidable and globally influential force in architecture. Highly experimental, rigorous and exacting, her work, from buildings to furniture, footwear, and cars, is quite rightly revered and desired by brands and people all around the world. I am delighted Zaha will be awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 2016 and can’t wait to see what she and her practice will do next.”
“I am very proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal, in particular, to be the first woman to receive the honor in her own right,” said Hadid. “We now see more established female architects all the time. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress.… Part of architecture’s job is to make people feel good in the spaces where we live, go to school, or work—so we must be committed to raising standards. Housing, schools, and other vital public buildings have always been based on the concept of minimal existence. That shouldn’t be the case today. Architects now have the skills and tools to address these critical issues.”